Puppy mill rescues can initially be absolutely terrified of everything. This is because during their life in a puppy mill, they were kept in horrid conditions, locked in cages 24/7 and were only used for the purpose of constant breeding. They stand and sit in their own urine and defecation. They do not know or understand love or the human touch. Therefore if they are lucky enough to be rescued out of these conditions, they literally are petrified of experiencing a normal life. Puppy mill rescues need an adopter with patience and love and the willingness to help them learn they can trust a human again. I heard about Mimi and her story in October and was determined to photograph her. I needed to show others her true soul that was being overlooked due to her apprehensive personality, resulting from a puppy mill life.
Mimi: Puppy Mill Survivor Who Found Love: Told by Melissa Kuzma
I had a cat for 15 years who died in 2006 named Misha, who we called “Mimi” for short, so I kind of felt it was a sign. My husband and I decided we were ready for another dog and I’ve always loved tiny black poodles, so I reached out to Shannon and she surprised me by saying that she had secretly been hoping that we’d adopt her! Shannon warned me that Mimi had come from a puppy mill and was very traumatized and that she would need a lot of work, but I wasn’t deterred. I just felt right away like she was meant to be our dog. Shannon and I discussed it for a while and mutually decided to go for it. I made my plane reservations and flew from New Jersey to Kansas on November 5 to pick her up!
Mimi is not like other dogs. She doesn’t know how to walk on a leash yet, and she still cowers or runs when you try to pick her up, but she’s already made a lot of progress in the month that we’ve had her. She sits on our laps contentedly, sleeps in bed with us, and follows her big sister Lemon around and does everything she does. She comes to the door with Lemon to greet us when we come home and we even caught her standing up, looking out the dining room window when we pulled into the driveway yesterday, just like Lemon does! I love her so much! I feel like the luckiest person on earth to be given the chance to have her in my life .
Photos of Mimi in her new home, courtesy of Melissa Kuzma.